By Bleah B. Patterson
Performed for the first time in 1562, “Romeo and Juliet” has been setting a romantic precedent for about 450 years.
The number of adaptations is impossible to count and, over the years audiences have become well-acquainted with the tragic story of love that beats odds and sacrifices everything.
The fine arts department has decided to tell the story the way they believe Shakespeare intended for it to be told. For this well-known tale, this college has brought in one of only three dance choreographers in the city, Joseph Urick, who received an Associate of Arts from this college in 2008. “My job is to make the writing look real but keep it safe,” Urick said, “I promote the idea that fighting onstage is a dance.”
Director Paula Rodriguez, drama instructor, is proud to be working with students with so much enthusiasm and heart.
Auditions for this production were open to students of all majors; however, most of the students who auditioned were drama majors.
“Every few years we’re bombarded with adaptations of this classic, yet people still come see it and they love it. It’s timeless,” Rodriguez said.
Ryan Coronado is a drama freshman who is excited to audition. “It’s the first nonmusical I’ve ever auditioned for,” he said, “I think I did OK.”
Drama freshman Melena Mejia auditioned for her first play and is hoping to land the role of Juliet. “I have single friends who like to say it’s cliché and that they think it’s overdone. I’m in a relationship, though, so I enjoy the love story.”
“Of course, people are going to call it cliché,” Coronado said. “Every other movie is based off of it. But that doesn’t take away from the beauty of it.”
“I don’t think it’s been overdone, I think that nobody gets it right,” drama sophomore Mason Ortiz said, “But we’re going to get it as right as we can.”
Drama sophomore Andy Silva is hoping to be Romeo and thinks holding auditions in February, so close to Valentine’s Day, is clever. “People who worry that it will be the same story they’ve heard a hundred times should come see it before they make judgment,” Silva said, adding that “everyone interprets it differently.”
While everyone is vying for the roles of Romeo or Juliet, drama sophomore Jerry Martinez hopes to play Tybalt or Mercutio. “They’re funnier and have really great fighting scenes. I think that would be more fun,” he said.
“Last spring, I wanted to do Shakespeare, and I decided that this would be the most relevant to our students,” Rodriguez said.
“Romeo and Juliet” will be the final play for the season. It will be performed at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of McAllister Fine Arts Center April 17-19 and 24-26 with a matinee April 27 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $2 with a student ID, $8 military ID, and $10 general admission.
Students will find out today what roles they have been chosen to portray.